Vol tennis downs top-ranked Florida to claim fourth SEC Tournament title
A dramatic three-set triumph from junior Martim Prata propelled the No. 5 Tennessee men’s tennis team past top-ranked Florida
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Two massive victories in doubles, a pair of dominant straight-set efforts in singles and a dramatic three-set triumph from junior Martim Prata propelled the No. 5 Tennessee men’s tennis team past top-ranked Florida, 4-3, in the Championship match of the 2021 SEC Tournament.
The win marks Tennessee’s (25-3) first SEC title since 2010—when it knocked off Florida (20-2) and fourth tournament title overall. This title is the first conference crown for head man Chris Woodruff since taking over the program in 2017.
Doubles was once again a tight affair between the programs with Florida taking the opening set on court three.
The Vols quickly responded at No. 1 as the third ranked pair of Aussies Adam Walton and Pat Harper battled past the No. 25 tandem of Johannes Ingildsen and Will Grant, 6-4.
With the point on the line and down a break, the Tennessee duo of freshman Johannus Monday and Prata used two massive late service breaks to earn a 7-5 victory on court two to give UT the key, 1-0 lead.
In singles play, graduate student Giles Hussey and Monday were the first off court to quickly give the Vols a near insurmountable, 3-0 lead.
Hussey rolled past Ben Shleton, 6-4, 6-3, while Monday dominated Sam Riffice, 6-4, 6-4.
The Gators slowly fought their way back into the match, earning a straight set victory on court one and a tight three-set victory on court six to bring the score to 3-2 in favor of the Vols.
At No. 4, graduate student Luca Wiedenmann fought off eight match points, but fell in a back-and-forth third-set tiebreak. At one point, Wiedenmann had seemingly clinched the title for the Vols, but his serve was called out by the line judge when he was up 6-2 in the breaker.
With the score ultimately tied at 3-3, Tournament MVP Prata held serve at 5-5, before breaking No. 14 Andy Andrade on deuce point to give Tennessee the tournament crown.
SEC SZN BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN THE VOLS
UT is 5-1 in its last two SEC Tournaments, knocking of rival Florida in both 2019 and 2021 in Friday’s match.
RANKED WINS JUST KEEP COMING
Friday’s result marked the Vols 16th victory over a ranked opponent, 13th over a team in the top-25 and third over teams ranked inside the top-5.
Friday’s win was the Vols fourth SEC Tournament title and 14th overall SEC Title and the first team title of any kind for the Vols since 2010.
SEC TOURNAMENT HONORS
Following the match, Martim Prata and Luca Wiedenmann were named to the SEC All-Tournament team, while Prata took home the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award following his dramatic match-clinching victory.
The Vols will now await their fate and path to an NCAA National Championship. UT will have two weeks off between matches and a week off before the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, May 3.
#3 Walton/Harper (Tenn.) def. #25 Ingildsen/Grant (Fla.) 6-4
Monday/Prata (Tenn.) def. Vale Goodger (Fla.) 7-5
Riffice/Shelton (Fla.) def. Hussey/Wallner (Tenn.) 6-1
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2*
#3 Duarte Vale (Fla.) def. #13 Adam Walton (Tenn.) 7-5, 7-5
#11 Johannus Monday (Tenn.) def. #6 Sam Riffice (Fla.) 6-4, 6-4
#50 Martim Prata (Tenn.) def. #14 Andy Andrade (Fla.) 7-6(3), 2-6, 7-5
#56 Blaise Bicknell (Fla.) def. Luca Wiedenmann (Tenn.) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(8)
#92 Giles Hussey (Tenn.) def. Ben Shelton (Fla.) 6-4, 6-3
#104 Josh Goodger (Fla.) def. Pat Harper (Tenn.) 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3
Order of Finish: 5, 2, 1, 6, 4, 3*
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